This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
A Russian rocket successfully launched an Iranian satellite into space on August 9 amid accusations that Moscow might use it to improve its surveillance of military targets in Ukraine.
The remote sensing satellite, called Khayyam, was launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan, at 08:52 a.m. Moscow time on August 9, according to a video broadcast by Russia’s space agency on YouTube.
The Washington Post reported last week that U.S. officials are worried by the incipient space cooperation between Russia and Iran and fear the satellite will not only help Russia in Ukraine but also provide Iran “unprecedented capabilities” to monitor potential military targets in Israel and the Middle East.
Iran says the satellite is designed for scientific research including radiation and environmental monitoring for agricultural purposes and no other country will have access to information it gathers.
Russia has sought to deepen its ties with Iran since it invaded Ukraine in February.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Iran in his first international trip outside the former Soviet Union since the war.